Posted June 7, 2021 • Last updated June 7, 2021

This Week in WCIW #25

News from May 31 to June 5, including early updates on Canadian networks' fall programming plans.

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Welcome to the June 7, 2021 edition of This Week in WCIW, the weekly newsletter from Where Can I Watch – covering the latest news on where TV shows and movies will be available in Canada.

Read on for some of the early announcements about the fall TV situation on the Canadian broadcast networks, and updates on the new season of The Good Fight and the Walker reboot.

Our thanks again to those of you who support WCIW through our new paid subscription option, which helps keep the majority of the content on our site freely available to everyone without intrusive ads. For our paid members, we're planning a new What's Next in WCIW newsletter later this week, most likely providing a bit more analysis on the Canadian network schedules being announced over the next few days, and anything else that might arise during the Bell, Rogers, and Corus upfronts.

Fall TV takes shape

On some level, it's weird to still be writing about the fall TV season, at a time when more and more new programs are debuting year-round on both linear and streaming platforms.

But there are still plenty of people that watch linear TV, and plenty of popular series on the broadcast networks, even though those series are increasingly targeting specific subsets of viewers. And there are a lot of people – your humble writer included – that are used to the ritual of networks making programming announcements every May and June about schedules that will launch in September.

So, here we are in early June, where the Canadian broadcast networks have started making their big announcements for the fall, with more to come in the next few days.

This past Wednesday, CBC Television held a virtual upfront where it announced its new season, which includes a bunch of new and returning Canadian series. (Full details are in the linked press release, but note that some of these are not scheduled to debut or return until winter 2022.)

  • On the comedy front, there's the the previously-announced Kim's Convenience spinoff Strays with Nicole Power and non-spinoff Run the Burbs with Andrew Phung; and two very different coming-of-age comedies: the downtown Toronto-set Sort Of starring Bilal Baig, and Son of a Critch, about the Newfoundland youth of 22 Minutes' Mark Critch.
  • New dramas include Moonshine (previously announced as Feudal), a sort of Nova Scotian Succession-type dramedy about a family fighting for control of a summer resort, and The Porter, the story of the world's first Black labour union. Additionally, Indigenous drama The Red has been greenlit for next season (2022–23).
    The CBC has also picked up the BBC's A Suitable Boy, a drama about a young woman in 1950s India. The series was made available on North American streaming via Acorn TV late last year, but the audience was likely not as wide as it got elsewhere in the world, where it was on Netflix.
  • In reality TV – er, "factual entertainment" – Shaun Majumder will be hosting Race Against the Tide, a sand sculpture competition series.
  • Returning series include Workin' Moms, TallBoyz, Murdoch Mysteries, Diggstown, Heartland, Coroner, Pretty Hard Cases, Dragons' Den, and The Great Canadian Baking Show.
    Additionally, season 2 of the Epix / StudioCanal adaptation of The War of the Worlds will air in October.

IndieNet, the alliance of YesTV and independent (or semi-independent) stations CHCH, CHEK, and NTV, also held an upfront this past week. Given the differing circumstances of the stations in question, there wasn't really a schedule to announce, but there was confirmation that the group will be continuing with most of the status quo, including the syndicated Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! in early primetime on YesTV, CHEK, and NTV, plus a handful of new additions:

  • YesTV, and possibly others in the group, will be picking up the new, Fox-syndicated iteration of You Bet Your Life with Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks. While the show is intended to be evergreen, it will apparently include versions of bits like "Headlines" that originated on Leno's stints on The Tonight Show.
  • Also coming to YesTV later this summer will be The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker, the two Canadian-filmed, BYUTV-commissioned, interconnected sitcoms that debuted on Super Channel earlier this year.
  • Finally, there was a slide tacked on at the end of IndieNet's video (at 29:13) noting the Jeopardy! National College Championship would be coming in 2022. It seemed odd that this would be called out, considering that Jeopardy! regularly runs multiple tournaments each year as part of the syndicated series, until we noticed that it would be a "one-hour game show" – in other words, it may run outside of the syndicated program's run, similar to the 2020 Greatest of All Time tournament, which aired in the U.S. in primetime on ABC. We do not believe this aspect of the format had been previously announced by Sony.

The other announcements didn't involve schedule announcements, but were more pre-announcements about programming. For those of you who read our What's Next newsletter a couple of weeks back, we think the results were fairly consistent with our projections, but you'll probably notice a couple of things that surprised us.

Bell Media, which will hold its upfront this coming Thursday, June 10, announced it had acquired Canadian broadcast rights to the following series that will air on CTV (or CTV2), in no particular order other than being roughly grouped by distributor and/or network:

  • Queens (ABC / ABC Signature)
  • The Wonder Years (ABC / 20th TV)
  • Maggie (ABC / 20th TV – midseason)
  • The Big Leap (Fox / 20th TV)
  • Our Kind of People (Fox / 20th TV)
  • Alter Ego (Fox / Fox Unscripted)
  • The Cleaning Lady (Fox / Warner Bros. TV)
  • Pivoting (Fox / Warner Bros. TV – midseason)
  • La Brea (NBC / Universal TV)
  • AGT: Extreme (NBC / Fremantle – late summer 2021)
  • Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (Sony – moving from IndieNet)

Bell also announced the following series it had acquired for its specialty channels:

  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+ / CBS – airing on CTV Sci-Fi)
  • Star Trek: Prodigy (Paramount+ / Nickelodeon / CBS – airing on CTV Sci-Fi)
  • Chapelwaite (Epix – airing on CTV Sci-Fi)
  • Day of the Dead (Syfy / Cartel Entertainment – airing on CTV Sci-Fi)
  • Fires (ABC Australia / NBCUniversal? – airing on CTV Drama)
  • Leverage: Redemption (IMDb TV / Electric Entertainment – airing on CTV Drama)
  • Walker (CW / CBS – airing on CTV Drama, season 1 premieres June 23)
  • Backyard Bar Wars (TruTV / Red Arrow – airing on CTV Life)

Walker, of course, is the Walker: Texas Ranger reboot that premiered on The CW earlier this year; up until now, the only authorized methods available to Canadians to access the series have been through CW affiliates where available, or by buying the series digitally through services like iTunes.

Meanwhile, Rogers Sports & Media, which will have its upfront on Tuesday the 8th, announced it had picked up three more NBC series to air on Citytv: new series Ordinary Joe (Universal TV / 20th TV) and Law & Order: For the Defense (Universal TV), as well as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the latter having previously aired on CTV.

Corus Entertainment, whose upfront will be on Wednesday the 9th, did not make any announcements about Global's fall programming this past week, choosing instead to focus on summer programming (see next section), but based on what hasn't been announced as having a Canadian home yet (including the latest NCIS and FBI series, and CSI: Vegas), it shouldn't be hard to guess what Global will be adding.

Other programming news

  • W Network has confirmed in on-air promos, and on its website, that the upcoming fifth season of The Good Fight, which debuts on Paramount+ U.S. on June 24, will begin airing in Canada on July 1 – a significant improvement considering the months-long gap between the U.S. and Canadian premieres of season 4.
  • As noted above, Global announced its summer arrivals this past week, including new seasons of Canadian dramas Nurses and Private Eyes, plus the latest revival of Fantasy Island (Fox / Sony), and comedic nature docuseries When Nature Calls with Helen Mirren (ABC / BBC Studios).
  • Citytv has quietly announced that it has picked up The Chase (ABC / ITV Studios), the trivia game show featuring three past Jeopardy! champions among the "chasers", beginning with its second season that began last night. The first season was only available in Canada through ABC; IndieNet might have been a logical home, but YesTV, at least, would have been booked up with other programming in its previous and current timeslots.
  • Crave has confirmed it will carry Starstruck, a UK-set comedy series starring Rose Matafeo and Nikesh Patel, which was co-commissioned by BBC Three and HBO Max, and is produced by Avalon Television. The series debuts on both Crave and HBO Max this coming Thursday, June 10.
  • Super Channel is doubling down on docuseries, announcing it has picked up five series from Breakthrough Entertainment, on top of the four picked up from Farpoint Films a few weeks ago. The series from Breakthrough include I Lived With a Killer, which debuts on SC Fuse on June 25, with others coming later in 2021 and 2022.
    Separately, Super Channel has announced a ten-day free preview on most TV service providers from June 14 to 23. Debuting during the preview period will be two TMZ Investigates specials, plus recent-release films Mickey and The Bear (2019, Utopia) and American Exit (2019, Grindstone Entertainment). The service has also hired Teri Hart to be its lead on-air personality; Hart served in a similar role at TMN for several years under Astral ownership, and was most recently an entertainment reporter for Rogers.

Recent updates on WCIW

We added new posts about this past Friday's Warner Bros. release, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, as well as this coming Thursday's In the Heights. We also posted a significant update to our post about The Good Fight in light of the update from W Network noted above.

We've also made more minor updates to our posts about earlier WB releases The Witches, The Little Things, and Wonder Woman 1984 to reflect the most recent updates from Crave (noted in previous This Week in WCIW newsletters), as well as Peacock's Girls5eva (now that it's debuted on W Network).

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